Relationships are difficult.
It would be so much easier if being in a relationship meant that you could look after your own well-being and express yourself fully and authentically without a negative response from the other person. But this is not always the case, and as a matter fact, it’s rarely the case.
If you’ve ever found yourself caught up in a family drama or work drama, you will find that every person involved has to find someone to blame, and typically the person they choose to blame is not themselves.
For some reason, as humans, it is easier for us to be angry at other people than it is for us to be angry at ourselves. And for equally baffling reasons, the blame tends to follow me. It doesn’t seem to matter what situation I find myself in, I find that there are multiple people heaping blame upon my shoulders. Perhaps, I am an easy target?
Perhaps, you can relate to this? Have you ever felt this way — like the world felt everything was your fault? Defending yourself and your right to be your own person become such kneejerk reactions, that you have little time left for just being yourself.
People simply need to have a scapegoat. If you find yourself in the position of being a routine scapegoat for others, it can be helpful to remember why it is that people find it so easy to put the blame on you, even when they, themselves, could be at fault for the situation.
Nancy Colier LCSW, Rev., in her article in Psychology Today, entitled What to Do About the People Who Blame You for Everything, she points out that in order for people to honestly investigate their own behavior they must have the courage to admit that they could have acted “with more awareness” in a situation or that they could’ve “done better,” but it is hard to do that without feeling like they are blaming or judging themselves.
This is a paradox that creates the need for blaming but also the need to protect oneself. Scapegoating is so much easier to do and allows a person to shove the negative or shameful thoughts out of their own minds and onto another person.
Here are some reasons why you may be taking the blame for things even when you have not done anything wrong.
They are projecting
Defensive projection is a psychological process of “displacing one’s feelings onto another person” or even animal or object, and is a method of self-protection.
In an article on Psychology Today’ website, projection is further explained in this way:
Unconscious discomfort can lead people to attribute difficult feelings or impulses to someone else to avoid confronting them. Projection allows the difficult trait to be addressed without the individual fully recognizing it in themselves. — Psychology Today
When a person feels guilt, shame, or if they, themselves, are the ones who have behaved in a manner that is questionable, they will often project these feelings of guilt or shame onto other people and shoving those negative feelings onto another person. It makes them feel as if they are addressing their own problems, when in fact, it is an avoidance tactic (with a victim).
It is not a healthy manner to behave within a relationship and when you are finding yourself dealing with people like this you can often take the blame for things that are either not your fault or have nothing at all to do with you. It can be shocking and hurtful but it is important to remember that these feelings are not yours and they do not reflect your truth.
They are not emotionally mature
Not everyone is going to have the same level of emotional maturity that you do. Perhaps they are still out there trying to discover who they really are as a person and unpack issues within themselves that you may not even be aware of. They may see you as a more stable individual and that evokes jealousy and insecurity.
Which goes back to projection, because these feelings may cause them to unload their own insecurities onto you. It may be that you make them feel insecure about who they are as a person because you are so well-grounded.
There’s not a lot you can do about the situation except to exhibit emotional maturity yourself and distance yourself from those who seem to have difficulty dealing with you or your personality.
They have mental health issues that are getting in the way
Mental health issues can be to blame for a lot of displeasing behavior. You never really know what a person is going through inside of their mind and when you see them running around blaming everyone but themselves, while it is tempting to put them in their place, you need to remember that there may be mental health issues at play that you are not able to change for them.
You can express your concern over their behavior and set boundaries for yourself, but aside from that, you cannot force someone to get help for their own mental health issues. You can only decide how you will let it affect you and your life.
You have accepted this behavior in the past
It’s possible that this person or these people who are always blaming you for everything have done this for so long and you have been so tolerant that they see no need in changing the behavior.
Healthy boundaries within a relationship are there in order for you to protect your own mental health, and to allow you to live in your own truth without being harassed, abused, or otherwise manipulated away from your own authenticity.
There is no accountability for their behavior
Sometimes people get away with bad behavior because no one ever calls them out on it. When there’s no accountability and the individual refuses to hold themselves accountable, bad behavior can continue and you will continue to take the blame for things that are not your fault.
Hold them accountable. Allow them to experience consequences. Don’t fold. Don’t “give in” to restore the peace. Make it clear that their behavior is unacceptable and communicate the pain that it has caused you.
Your truth belongs to you. When others unfairly heap blame onto your shoulders or point a careless finger at you — you do not have to subject yourself to this. Remind yourself that their inner turmoil is not your doing. You can set clear boundaries, distance yourself, and refuse to stoop to their level. You do not have to wear the label of scapegoat to satisfy their need to deflect and avoid their own personal opportunities for growth.
Thank you for reading.
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